module 10 post

In 150-200 words, explain why you think either we should be ecocentric or anthropocentric?
Throughout this course, we have learned may things about how the world works; what hurts and helps the planet in terms of the health and prosperity of the planet and living organisms. In an ecocentric, non-anthropocentric way of thinking, humans are not the most important beings. The world would thrive without human beings. Although we do help many species, I feel as though we are hurting Mother Nature and her natural course. Although I think some species would still be in danger of being extinct / there would still be major natural disasters, It would all be as a consequence of nature and not of human beings. Human-beings cause so much nearly irreversible damage to the earth we are almost forcing ourselves to be anthropocentric by way of necessity. However, we have not found enough ways to sustain our selves in this way. We MUST rely on most of human nature to survive. But our horrible habits of destroying the earth, like mono-cropping, pollution of the oceans and the soil and the air, deforestation, horrible murdering of animals for bulk-meat food by way of huge corporations… and more… is going to make us have to rely on another way of surviving if we keep growing in this way of living. In conclusion, we must be more ecocentric in order for the earth to not be destroyed by human being in the hundreds and thousands of years to come.

In 150-250 words, What species would you protect if you think ecocentric is more important?
Since, according to most theories, living beings originated from microorganisms, preserving the various organisms that create important, life supporting plants is the most important thing to preserve. There is a “dooms day vault” in Norway, Called the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, where millions of seeds from plants around the world are being stored, just in case anything, like a dooms day, would ever happen on Earth. I think something like this should happen for living organisms somehow too. Obviously, I’m not sure exactly how we could preserve them for ever, maybe by freezing..? But finding the organisms that can eventually produce intelligent life again if anything were to ever happen to us on earth, ie- if karma kicks in and mother nature decides to wipe out all of human kind ( Noah’s Ark style..? haha) we would have a way to regrow again.

Module 9

Module 9 diagram

The core concepts behind my diagram are pretty straight forward. Climate change is obvious and inevitable. People are recognizing this, but a core group of people, UNFCC, finally stepped up to make the Copenhagen Accord. This helped reduce greenhouse gasses and, overall, climate change. Since it was working, the US wanted to back the Copenhagen accord. However, they took the low road and began spying on other countries and threatening them in order for them to be involved to because this issue is so important. There were about 116 countries who also back the Copenhagen Accord, where 34 others were on edge about it. After some WikiLeaks let it be known that the US had these spaying charges on them, they back out. The important thing is, and what Is included in the diagram, is that eventually these countries back the Copenhagen Accord and it is helping the original cause, helping Climate Change.

I think climate change is obvious and there needs to be change immediately. However, I do not understand why the US thought threatening other countries was going to do anything long lasting. I think this obvious issue should be shown to people to make them see how obvious it is. This can happen with more education on the topic, which this course over all does. Although we go in-depth in the topic, key elements can be taken out and shown people. Like monoculture farming and all those videos about trash filled towns in 3rd world countries. People can also be taught, in simple terms, how to fix this problem. By address specifically who and what is causing these problems and start with those. We can no longer afford to rely on people to “do their individual part” because it’s the big things that are really affecting us. Explaining further…for example, I think it’s great that we can do our part of cutting down on gas emissions by trying to grow our own crops in our back yard or little community gardens, but there are still million of people who go to the grocery store who don’t see the impact they’re making on just the drive there. Because even the common people don’t know the effect it makes, it may help to instate some type of environmental education in schools, so even more people become aware of this issue and really start to make a difference in fixing climate change.

Module 8

  1. Although this map is pretty small, it does accurately show the types of weather I see in my area and in the tristate area. Being from New Jersey, we have experienced either many aftermaths of different storms, particularly hurricanes, and have had a few hurricanes ourselves. Because of this, the “Anomalies during La Nina” is accurate, because were more prone to storms, especially being next to the ocean. Two maps that confuse me are the tornado and wildfire map, we have never been in danger of either of those really and the map shows are dark spot (maybe my eyes are bad). I do recall 2-3 “tornado watches” but nothing serious happened other than high winds before a bad storm in the summer.
  2. As previously mentioned, my area tends to be hit with hurricanes and general storms, especially during the warmer months. Therefor, the maps including storm surge, flood annual loss and earthquake seem to be accurate. I see that in maps like multi-hazard mortality risk and other mortality risk maps tend to be red/high around New York City. I wonder if this is just increased due to a major population increase in the area? The program worked, well, had some trouble loading and slight confusion for navigation but quickly figured it out.
  3. There was a biological hazard on March 2 in Bengaluru, India. There is a local lake that was highly polluted making the oxygen levels very low. Because of these levels many fish were dying and polluting the lake more, workers put bags of salt in the late to which educes oxygen flow and levels to the fish making some that were dying come back to life. There is a local vegetable and flower market near bye, so they think some of the pollution came from the merchants cleaning off their products in the lake. Some pollution also came from general dumping of food and other items in the lake. I don’t think anything this severe would happen in my hometown, there are a few small, man-made lakes. The people of Bengaluru were not informed to keep the lake clean, while in in my hometown, there are fountains and annual cleaning.

The scale of this is not too severe for this town other than the cost it will take to clean the lake and maintain it which will take out of those towns’ taxes. This would not affect my town as much because they already have a budget to clean it. Again, to reduce the vulnerability of this happening in any towns locally, the town jut needs to make sure they have annual cleanings of the lake and that people check that it is not being polluted.

  1. The biggest disasters my town has faces usually come after a large storm. Hurricane Sandy his more of New Jersey very hard. We’ve faced big storms in my town before but we knew this one was worse when we could feel our house shifting due to high winds. Usually big disasters like these led to individual families having problems with their house, like basement flooding, tree/lawn damage etc.… the town also runs into problems with all the trees falling in the streets and the parks which cause traffic backups and tax increases to pay for the labor. There are some bridges in my town that often overflow and cause traffic problems. Another issue we especially faced with hurricane sandy was blackouts and lack of gas since so many people own generators. Many of the gas stations were out of power for over a week just like the town was so pumping gas was not possible unless they too had large generators. Eventually, all the gas station ran out of gas until they were able to get another shipment in.
    2. We did and should continue to have major back up crews for clearing trees from the roads and prioritize who and what and when workers do jobs, for example, instead of removing a fallen tree from someone’s backyard, remove them from the streets first. As well as stocking extra inventory of important items, like food, and extra items like generators and gas. My town did a pretty good job with keeping everything in order and reducing cause by being on top of everything and prioritizing what needed to be done. Not only can the town help, but also private businesses can help. Something I could do is volunteer time, if possible, with helping clean up the town or helping towns that were hit the hardest but housing people or volunteering to clean up the area to start building again, which many, including my family did.

Post 7

Since my township was too small, we went to a combined high school of a small town about 3 towns over. (I hope it’s ok to combine these two towns for the sake of this lesson.) I grew up in a small automobile suburb of Branchburg, New Jersey. We had all different types of neighborhoods, from (suburban) mansions to well kept trailer parks. The town we shared high schools with had a small, walkable down town area with a slightly higher urban density as an older automobile-suburb town. The towns were both basically known as our ‘hometown’ considering how much time I spent in the town in high school. Branchburg was a larger township with about 14,566 (c. the 2000 census), Somerville’s denser population was at 12,171 in 2013. Both towns have a few populated high ways splitting them right in half-making having a car essential to get anywhere in Branchburg. (I was pretty bored until I got my drivers license..) Most areas in Somerville allowed people walk to downtown.

There was a small street in the downtown area of Somerville much like the one in Copenhagen where they closed down the street for more walking and activities. In warmer weather, they often have nightly music entertainment. People from surrounding towns, mostly Branchburg and Somerville, would come and sit at an outdoor restaurant or seating area while kids could run around or go get ice cream. It was a recent transition but it has really started to bring some more life to the small towns. The restaurants and shops get more business during the events, which means more for the local economy. It also gets people out and walking and interacting with others, when it’s so easy for ‘suburbians’ to just go home and watch TV all night. On a personal note, my dads classic rock band (yes, a kick-butt dad band) played and it was nice to be able to bring my friends to see him as well as interact with them and get some fresh air on a beautiful summer night!

While Somerville is similar to the picture shown of Jamaica Plain, Boston, Branchburg has a few neighborhoods similar to Rochester, NY. Luckily, my neighborhood had side walks so I could see moms walking their dog, or the local cross country star who lived the neighborhood over sprint by at least 3 times a day. Although, like I mentioned, there was a high way going straight through my town, making the car only suitable transportation, people still found ways to get out and exercise. There is a lot of farmland in and around Branchburg that is not being used for local farming. I think the town could really use a nice local farmers market. Families with large backyards could also take advantage of their lands to make a small garden.

Module 6

I tend not to eat differently according to social norms anymore, I try to eat new, interesting things that are also healthy (“YOLO”). However, I do remember instances in a buffet setting where I pick foods that seem socially normal to eat. I usually pick a meat, starch and a vegetable. I used to conform to the social norm of getting a salad before a meal but I have officially given up on thinking that I am going to even eat it. I find it more embarrassing, socially, to have the plate of leafs go uneaten in front of me than not ordering it in the first place. I also tend to portion my foods according to social norms. The inner beast in me wants to fill 3 whole plates of food (preferably 2 filled with creamy mashed potatoes…) The salad food norm I once conformed to was often cheap leaf salad, probably from monoculture fields of romaine lettuce.

After reading this lesson, I realized that most of the food I eat is probably a product of monoculture. As a college student, I buy cheap and in bulk as much as possible just to save a few cents. This habit is practiced by most altruistic college students and most other people I know who still want healthy foods but do not have the money to afford it. I often buy large bags of frozen vegetables from Walmart, the various vegetables are probably grown in acres of fields of just a few, or maybe one, vegetable. Because monoculture is not the best for the environment and its local agriculture, this practice is something I could try to avoid. College students are not the only one to blame for the growth of monoculture, almost everything in a grocery store is probably from a monoculture field. People do this because it is easy. To help change this social norm, awareness can be raised of the importance of buying locally grown products. This not only prevents monoculture but also helps with the local economy and health.

Rural Areas are Affected with Health and Economy

There is currently a two-year drought in Somalia that is affecting the poor and farmers the most. The article begins with an interview of a pastoralist in Somalia who had been scarily affected by this tragedy. His owns a small farm, when the drought started he owned 20 cattle, his herd is now literally died down to 5. The cattle were the main source of income for his family. A family who is in debt and often goes with little to no food for days. Because the drought has taken over most lands, the small fields that are still available for grazing have been completely used up. This forces many families to have the same problem as the first pastoralist and abandon their lands for urbanized areas. With less farmers and pastorists helping the economy, there is even less economic circulation. There are about 4.7 million starving people in Somalia, that’s about 40% of the population. There are many organizations trying to help Somalia including the UN who see that this is a serious epidemic.


The malnutrition on children and mother in India has been declining. Although, since India became independent, it has been one of the world leaders. But how are 1.5 million children dying before their first birthday every year? Why do some areas only have about 18 hospital beds per 100,000 people in the area? This is because there is such a severe difference in classes in India. There is basically no health care for most of India and there has not been a lot of help from the government. Only 15% of the population has health care and it is some of the best in the world while the other 85% of India is left with extremely unsanitary and over crowded hospitals. As the populations become further and further away from very populated areas, the health care becomes worse. There are less supplies and development on the land the further away from the urban cities there are. Various organizations such as FSD are trying to help this serious problem that also effects the economy, health, education and general living conditions in India.


I grew up in Branchburg, New Jersey, a majority of the town is suburban with a mix of many different types of houses and incomes. These two cases from Somalia and India are honestly nothing like my home town. Because I am in a populated area and near a city there has never been a water shortage in my life time. Also, many have efficient health insurance because of the class structure in my town where most have jobs that supply health insurance. Also being in a populated area, there are enough taxes to support large enough hospitals to care for a large amount of the population. I have learned that being in rural areas does not allow for enough population to keep an economy alive.

Module #4


After living in Branchburg, New Jersey for 18 years I’ve never quite known where my water came from. Being close to New York my town used city water. The city water originally came from rivers including the Raritan River, Millstone River, Delaware and Raritan Canal and about 130 wells. The water treatment center from American Water pumps approximately 145 gallons to the surrounding towns. This water goes through a series of underground pipes connected to the water plant. Before the reservoir, however, the water must go through a series of filtration systems in order to remove any contaminants. This filtration system often includes the use of chlorine and magnesium and calcium ions to bond with and capture biological contaminants. After the water comes from the tap, toilet (etc…) water is used and disposed of down the pipes it is taken to the regional sewage treatment plant, in my case Somerset Raritan Sewage and properly disposed of from there.

When figuring out how much water I use each day, I found that I use the most during my showers. However, since downtown State College apartments tend to be quite old I would assume my shower head is not water saving, therefore letting out 16 gallons per minute..(“Ouch”, says the Environment). So taking a 30 minute (more or less) takes up about 150 gallons. After cutting that out, I asked my roommates to refrain from running the dishwasher until it was completely full, that saved about 16 gallons. Next, I made sure I turned the sink on as little as possible during tooth brushing and hand washing which required some major quick reflex usage. Luckily, I don’t drink much water anyway, just because I am forgetful, so that was easy to cut down…I will admit I was pretty thirsty and just sipped on the water to make it seem like I was drinking more. The final usage was the toilet… however, I am not sure the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” way to live is for public spaces in my mind. In conclusion, in order to cut back on water more, I can use more quick reflexes to turn the water off quickly as well as try to cut down of luxury showers/taking one every day. As for toilet water usage, many of the toilets in my building have 2 settings for “how much water needs to be used”, so making sure I use the correct option can really make a difference.

Ethics Post #3

1. Is it more important to be a good person or to perform good acts (virtue ethics vs. action ethics)?

Although both of these are subjective, whether or not the act is good for everyone or just a certain group of people or just the one person. But…to each his own.
While being a good person and doing good things are both important, I think being a good person is better. I’d like to assume that by being a good person means you perform small acts of kindness all the time subconsciously. Varying from saying thank you to holding the door to giving money to the homeless to tutoring someone for free. These are small acts of kindness that make differences in peoples lives. If you’re genuinely a good person, you don’t even think about these small acts, they are just part of who you are. When someone doesn’t hold a door for me I say to myself, “Well that was rude.” then move on with my life. While if someone does hold the door , I say thank you with a small smile and just move on with the rest of my day. Even though I hardly even thought about the good act of the person who did subconsciously hold the door, the person who did not hold the door affected me for just those two seconds. Those are 2 whole seconds of your day thinking about something negative when a good act could make you think something positive and therefore do something positive subconsciously for someone else. These subconscious acts turn into deliberate acts of kindness as well.

5. Do the pleasure and pain of non-human animals matter as much as the pleasure and pain of humans (speciesism)?

Personally, I’ve always been a little hypocritical about this subject. I’ve always treated dogs better than I treat humans but I’m never afraid to kill a bug. I think I’ve always treated things that are nice to me or don’t terrify me well. But I don’t treat them the same as adult humans (I say adult because I talk to dogs like they are excitable toddlers.) However, speciesism is something that, I don’t think, has crossed many peoples’ minds. Why are humans so much better than other animals just because we have one extraordinary organ in our skulls? Humans think we are better because we are smarter than these other animals in different ways. Humans are mean to animals who try to kill but we are the ones invading their territory usually. I think we should treat animals nicely just because they do not have the same brain power to think logically like we do and therefore do not know any better unless they are domesticated.

3. Does the process by which decisions are made matter more than the outcomes of these decisions (procedural justice vs. distributive justice)?

I think the decision matters more than the process of the decision for life situations as long as it’s the right decision for the situation. The process is important but if it’s too long or too short and the same decision is made either way it doesn’t matter because in the end…the decision was made. In my major however, process does matter. In graphic design we have to make roughly 100 sketches until we find the idea want to go with, from there we are constantly refining our idea work weeks by our selves and with feedback from others until we have a finished product. In this instance, process is just as, if not more important than the decision/final product. But for life decisions like picking a husband or a court trial, the process is important but in the end the decision of picking the ‘right guy’ or finding a person guilty or not is the important part of the process.

Module 2 Post


biogas_mcb5605The diagram I have made about the BioGas’s affects on social and ecosystem in Bangalore, India can most similarly be described as a feedback loop. The core idea behind my web diagram is how BioGas is good for India’s social and eco system. We see this because it keeps going back to the job and education growth and how those are positively affected if the BioGas method continues to be used. This growth causes more and more people to be educated and get jobs, like in the compost, farm, masonry or even BioGas business. This system is a feedback loop since the more families who have a BioGas system have kids who can focus on school and young women who work on their own compost business. These businesses can help support the children’s’ education who can then put their education to good use to support farm and business growth, therefore confirming that it is a feedback loop.

Each of the diagrams are very similar in types of comparisons. For example, how the social system goes in order of the people in the community to the business in the community. These are then compared to the ecosystem subjects, which are also mostly farms and trees and how those are affected by the social aspects of the web. There are then arrows and lines of how all of these are connected. For example, how bio generators are better for human populations and life sustainability and growth. They are different in exact subject matter and what seemed to be important for me and who ever created the Gerald Marten Web.

Getting to Know You – Post 1

Hello, my name is Micaelie Bremer. I am a sophomore graphic design major who hopes to join a professional design firm in Philly or maybe go into the cartoon industry. I grew up in Branchburg, New Jersey, one can describe this town as “suburbia”. However, this summer, my family moved from Branchburg to Yardley, Pennsylvania to downsize after I went away to college. While at school, I live in an apartment building in downtown State College. My roommate suggested that I take this course because she said it was one of her favorite classes. I have always been interested in the make up of earth and Mother Nature herself. After I am done finishing my never ending projects for my majors and assignments for gen-ed’s, I like to sing with my a cappella group, hang out with friends from my major and just have the ultimate college experience!

While reading the introduction topics, I remembered that deforestation has always been a topic that concerns me. Obviously, trees and plants are important for all living creatures and the Earth as a whole because of the oxygen they provide as well as their role in cleaning toxins in the air. But I feel like people tend to over look how serious this topic is. By losing the trees, we are losing all types of other plant and animals lives that are vital to the ecosystem. I have always been interested and concerned about animals. Their environment has always been important to me. Animals are important to the Earth as well, whether their feces fertilize the Earth to help make more plants, or they eat bugs and plants to keep their population under control. I have always been fascinated with how important every creature and thing is important to the “circle of life” and how we are all interconnected. With deforestation, the “circle of life” is being hurt and I think it is important to help.